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Poster: Kevin VandeWettering Date: Mar 17, 2009 7:11am
Forum: oldtimeradio Subject: Re: The Shadow

I remember when you were having your difficulties with Shadowradio, but that would be because of trademark, not copyright.

"Sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, are not eligible for Federal copyright protection." according to the US copyright law.

There are some claims that state law provides protection for these works, but the only reference I ever found in state law was California's anti-plagiarism law, which isn't quite applicable.

There is a lot of confusion and very little testing in the courts of any of this. One theory claims that common law would grant state protection. I haven't seen the test.

Underlying plots, music in films and a bunch of other things are areas that haven't been decided in copyright law. The simplest answer is that if recordings of this vintage were not published with proper notice, they are public domain.

The test is court, and we haven't seen too many people want to go there. That's probably because in the absense of federal penalties for copyright infringement... the courts would determine actual damages.... In the case of radio shows, that's just about zero.